There has been quite a decline in the U.S. Jewish community that has been raising many concerns for American society.
The American Jewish community, currently 6 million strong, accounts for only 2% of the United States population. Incredibly, it still provides one of every ten US Senators, a third of the Supreme Court Justices, the last three chairs of the Federal Reserve, and a third of Forbes’ 400 Richest Americans.
The American Jewish community should receive a lifetime achievement award for their achievements: curing Polio, winning 15% of all science Nobel Prizes, all but inventing Hollywood, and having timeless household names on their roster such as Bob Dylan, Woody Allen, Steven Sondheim and Rodgers and Hammerstein, Freud and Einstein.
Here’s the problem: this religious culture rich with tradition, both spiritually and academically, is pushing toward its poles and shrinking in the middle.
The population of Orthodox Jews is growing by 5,000 per year, but the more liberal, non-Orthodox Jew population is shrinking by 10,000 per year. Liberal politicians used to count on strong support from the Jewish community, and while the more secular leaning Jews still vote mostly Democrat, the growing Orthodox sect identifies much more with a conservative mindset, which further divides its dwindling numbers.
There are a few things to blame for the decline of the American Jewish population:
- Lower birth rates have reduced the number of Jews in younger demographics. Currently, there are only 1.2 million Jews between the ages of 30 and 49, versus 1.8 million Jews from age 50 to 69.
- Adult children of intermarried Jewish couples are both smaller in number and less involved with the faith in practice.
While Pew studies report that a vast majority of Jews say that they are proud of their religion, donations to Jewish foundations have declined by one-third since 2000.
The statistics paint a picture that is bleak for the future of the Jewish-American culture, which would also mean a big hit for all Americans given the impressive and eclectic contributions of these proud people.
However, Forward.com reports that the above trends can be reverse by re-engaging the non-Orthodox Jewry, especially its young people, with day schools, camps, and even trips to Israel.
— Rachel Sisk (@RachelSisk) November 13, 2014
Perhaps capitalizing on the pride that most Jews feel in their religion could lead to a more religious and tradition practice of the religion across all demographics.